The York City School Board has decided to replace a recently resigned board member with a familiar face.
Aaron Willford Jr. was appointed by the board Wednesday night to take the spot vacated by Gary Calhoun.
Willford, a long-time pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, did not seek re-election in 2011 after one term because of personal commitments, but said he thought the time was right to return.
"I enjoyed what I did. I'm always involved one way or the other," Willford said.
Willford joined the board in July 2010 to fill the seat of the late Tom Foust.
Board president Margie Orr said Willford's board experience made him an ideal fit, and that getting someone on the board promptly, rather than go through candidate interviews, was needed.
"We wanted to expedite the position. He's familiar with everything going on with our board," Orr said.
Calhoun resigned earlier this month, saying he thought some teachers were bad-mouthing him about his actions in classrooms. Calhoun, who provides therapeutic support services at Ferguson Elementary through a private company, said he heard teachers say he was telling them how to do their job, which is forbidden for school board members.
Rather than continue, Calhoun resigned. The teachers' union said they are unaware of any complaints about Calhoun.
In other action: The district reviewed its 2011-12 school year, one that Superintendent Deborah Wortham said was successful considering the strides made on state exams. McKinley and Devers elementaries met state standards on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment exams, and a few other schools narrowly missed the benchmarks.
"What we're really trying to do is let everyone know that we believe they can be successful," said McKinley principal Keith Still.
Devers switched the focus from what the teacher is instructing to what the students are learning, and the results are evident, said Devers principal Deloris Penn.
Other indicators showed improvement, according to administrators, although York City still did not meet overall state standards on the PSSA. For example, William Penn Senior High School's graduation rate went up from 71.6 percent two years ago to 76.7 percent last year, with a drastic reduction in disciplinary referrals. At Goode Elementary, 15 percent more fourth-graders met state reading standards.
And, thanks to a new free breakfast program to make sure students are getting a nutritious start to the day, "we are scoring very high in the area of healthy" students, Wortham said.
- Reach Andrew Shaw at firstname.lastname@example.org